Thursday, 29 December 2011

Art Crime Strike Force Project Progress

Well, the Christmas season left little time for painting unfortunately, and my Art Crime Productions troops didn't arrive until Christmas Day... But here are the first 2 fire-teams fully painted. (You can see individual paintjobs on my new Competition Page)

Fire Team Alpha

Fire Team Bravo

Doing the visors in a glowing OSL style was quite a challenge, and in retrospect I think reading some tutorials before I started may have helped (I didn't even know it was called OSL while I was doing it) ... But I did it more or less from looking at a couple of finished examples and just trying it out.

I'm happy with the results for 15mm scale figures. If you do it exactly like a 28mm fig, you lose most of the effect at table distance. As always, I've painted in a quite exaggerated style to compensate for the miniature's tiny size.

The Theme of the force was originally going to be Urban Camo with Blue lights, but the prospect of doing grey figures held me back, plus as this is a Tomorrow's War Competition, I thought it would be fitting to try to match the scheme from the front cover of Tomorrow's War.

The figures themselves are the Port Reliant Mercs pack. Joining them soon will be a grenadier figure, which I believe is so far unreleased, but will be a welcome addition to the team.

Mercenary Grenadier based and ready for paint
I spent this afternoon assembling and basing the Heart of the Strike Force, the Valkyries.
These models have been seen around the web a fair bit, and they do not disappoint in person. In this Strike Force, they will be operating in fire teams of 2. One tactical and one support.

Anti-Tank Fireteam (Front View)

Anti-Tank Fireteam (Back View)

I added some Stowage from Khurasan to all these guys to make them a bit more personalized.
Next up is the Close Assault team, which I believe is also unreleased as yet, but is a perfect unit for my Strike Force's backstory, that of a crack unit of Urban Combat Veterans.

Close Assault Team (Front View)

Close Assault Team (Back View)

Rounding out the force, a recon element of jet bikes. I was considering basing these in a very dynamic way, but I don't have the right tools at the moment and the deadline is looming, so I've just put them on 25mm bases to match the Valks. I'll probably sculpt some bricks or other junk to try to disguise the support pillar a bit better once they are painted.

Jet Bike Recon
An urban strike team needs one more thing: Snipers! I was going to build him an elaborate base, but I think for maximum gaming flexibility I will leave it as-is and maybe build a mini diorama base that it can slot into.

A sniper
Jimbo included a good few more goodies in the package, but that will be for another post. For now, lets all just hope I can get this lot done before the deadline (15th of January) Gulp!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Barbarian And Wolfman

Copplestone Barbarian

Khurasan Werewolf
Quick post: Just a couple of figures I did a while ago in between other jobs, thought I'd post them before I forget. My camera setup is terrible at the moment, I need to sort out a better lamp and new box.

I'm really suffering from too many projects again, but will have to concentrate on my TW Strike force entry to make the deadline. I usually work of a few other things here and there while waiting for stuff to dry though, so hopefully a nice variety as we lead up to Christmas. I'm on holidays until 2012, so look forward to plenty of nerdy goodness in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Tough as Tungsten and loyal to the dirty end

Some beautiful figures from Khurasan, not yet available but hopefully soon. They have been previewed on TMP as the Jasmine Throne Foreign Battalion, but I chose a more classic paint scheme for mine...

They paint up very nicely, and would have been a lot easier if I hadn't decided on a monochrome uniform scheme. But I HAD to!

Jon sent me these as a very kind gift and I'm looking forward to completing them over the holidays. I'm finishing work for the year this week, which should leave ample time to do my Strike Force entry (Still waiting for minis in the post) these fellas, and get started on my Mighty Monsters project. Hooray for holidays!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Harook by Mad Robot Miniatures

A while ago, Steve from Mad Robot Miniatures contacted me about painting the Harook which were being sculpted at the time by the awesome Pedro Navarro AKA Mr. Bug man.

Steve was shooting for a Dec 1 release, but with postage from Chicago,  I only got them in hand with a couple of days to spare. I did them as fast as I could, which wasn't too hard because these are great minis to paint. They pack in a ton of detail but are sculpted with those details fairly easy to to hit with a brush, and the models themselves are quite large, most of them around 20mm tall. Each model in the set of 10 is a unique sculpt, which helps keep it interesting. They have a really nice set of combat poses too.

Dropship Horizon has already scooped me on this post, but here are the full front and back photos of my paint jobs:

Armor: Vallejo Dark sand with GW Devlan mud wash. Highlighted with original color.
Skin: GW Dwarf flesh, washed with GW Ogryn flesh wash and highlighted with GW Bronzed flesh.
Feathers: Base coated with GW Iyanden Darksun, washed a little along with the skin, highlighted with Vallejo flat yellow, then again with some white mixed in.
Grey areas were done with GW Codex grey with a Badab black wash, then again with the codex grey.
The guns were Black, highlighted up with Adeptus battlegrey and eventually codex grey.
The gun lights were done with Vallejo Lime green, washed with Vallego green ink and highlighted again with Lime green.
The orange suit lights were Vallejo Orange Red, highlighted with a bit of yellow mixed into the base color.

I was going to do their heads white with blackish beaks to more resemble a Sulphur crested Cockatoo

(a particularly smart, rowdy and destructive Australian native bird) but was worried that the beak would get lost in the gun. I did the flesh tone instead to make the alien features more visible and to help the body parts stand out from the weapon and suit.

Long time readers of the blog will also notice I have gone for a grey base texture, instead of my usual Calthan brown and static grass! This was firstly to make sure the suit did not get lost in the base color, and secondly because I want to start playing a lot more interior/starship corridor games, and while not strictly correct for this, it blends in better than brown dirt and clumps of grass. I may add some further details to the bitz modeled into the bases like rust etc.. But I think they look pretty good for now.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tomorrow's War Strike Force Project: Test Paint

Test color scheme
Here is my first stab at the color scheme I'll be using for the  Strike Force competition. The model is an Art Crime Productions Rim Mercenary.

The base is unpainted, and the photo has come out very dark... I think I need to build a softbox and get a decent lamp if I'm going to try photography at night again.It was done like so:

Base coat of Vallejo Russian Green
Badab Black ink wash
Repaint large areas with original color
Highlight with 50/50 GW Knarloc green/Russian green
Highlight with Knarloc green
Highlight with 50/50 Knarloc green/Gretchin green
Highlight Gretchin green

Packs and weapon:
Basecoat Adeptus Battlegrey
Badab Black ink wash
Paint surfaces with Adeptus Battlegrey
Highlight with 50/50 Adeptus battlegrey/Codex grey
Highlight edges with Codex grey
Pick out buttons and grenade pins with boltgun metal

Vallejo Flat Blue
highlight up to white in blobs
paint some mid blue/white onto surrounding edges to try and simulate light.

This is a level of highlighting I do not normally do. In fact 2 highlights is pretty much my rule most of the time. However, the work I put into my Garn Flesheater was at a similar level and while it's probably unnecessary effort, I can tell the difference. If I'm going to do this I may as well do it was well as I can.

I found the trick with the OSL effect was to keep it small. I originally had it spilling out down his left arm, but it looked better when more understated. If the figure doesn't have a gun near it's face I don't think there will be much to do with this effect on other models.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Khurasan Pit Fiends Preview

Here are 2 interesting models for Khurasan. Pit fiends or "Jersey Devils"intended for eldritch horror games. In my house they will also find use as summoned monsters for my barbarian heroes to face in Crom.

I tried doing some source lighting from the eyes on these minis.. It worked OK, not great IMO. I obviously need practice.

These guys are BIG, the base pictured is a 25mm, below is a comparison picture with a standard 15mm mini on a 20mm round slotta base.

I don't think these are available yet, but I'd guess they are in Jon's rather long queue at the caster's. 

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tomorrow's War: Strike Force competition

Osprey/Ambush Alley games are running a compettion:

Ambush Alley Games and Osprey Publishing are looking for the best Tomorrow's War painted sci-fi forces (any figures of any scale) in the world!

Grand Prize for Best army wins $200.00 USD (or the UK£ equivalent)  SRP of Osprey books
First Prize and Fan Favorite win $100.00 USD SRP each of Osprey books

...And I'm going to enter! I'm not normally into competitions because I don't like to think of painting minis as competitive, but a competition can also be a great motivational push for both productivity and creativity. It also helps if you are sponsored.

That's right, Jimbo from ACP games recently contacted me , proposing that ACP would provide the models if I wanted to have a stab at this event. An incredibly generous offer! I agreed (of course) And I really want to do the guys proud, so will be covering my progress as in-depth as I can. What does this mean for you?

Some of the figures I will be painting
More tutorials! 
I hardly ever do them because it slows me down, but for a project like this I'd like to share the goodwill. I'll try to do as much additional detail and small converting as I can.. In fact my initial plan is for every piece to have a small conversion or basing element added.

I am very lucky to occasionally paint unreleased models, but am usually prohibited from showing them until they are "in the wild". This makes perfect sense of course. This time around though, ACP have let me off the leash and are sending some unreleased models that I may actually blog about for a change. This is fun for me, as I get to blog about what I'm doing day to day instead of weeks after I finished painting something.

The Plan
My initial idea is to paint the strike force in a scheme very similar to the Tomwar cover. Green plating over black suits, with glowing blue visors and bits. I will do very heavy Urban rubble basing on all models.

The force is a Valkyrie supported Urban Interdiction team with an AFV command vehicle. They are conceptually veterans that specialize in city fighting. I already have some ACP infantry that I am going to do a test-paint of while I wait for the extras to arrive in the post.

My Chances
Well, I don't know. Winning isn't my main goal here though, it's a fun blogging and painting project first and foremost. I'm expecting fierce opposition.
If I do win, I will either donate or distribute the bulk of the prize, minus one copy of tomorrow's war of course, as I don't have one yet. ;)

Vote Spacejacker!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Solopalooza Day 5: Mini Board with Zombies!

SO last night I worked on modifying a "7 in 1" classic game box into a mini skirmish board and storage solution.. Otherwise known as arm's reach desktop gaming table.

My new 12"x12" game box
The gaming surface is some textured wallpaper stuck to the original lid with 3m spray adhesive. There is another sheet on the reverse side that I plan to paint in earth and grass tones, but it's white for now.

With Khurasan Containment Protocol minis
The scenery is all resin vehicle parts from Ramshackle games. Most were less than £2 each and were simply painted without any further modeling. The exceptions are the Hexagon (Imex leftover and foamcore) and the building in the top left corner, which is a Ramshackle thin plate glued on top of a foamcore box with GZG vents glued on the outside.

As all the pieces are rectangular and not fixed to the surface, it is easy to make complex layouts like re-arranging building blocks. The board is so small that it absolutely requires a lot of LOS blocking obstacles.

Tonight I had a lot to do (flat inspection tomorrow) so only had time for a quick game. Here is the scenario I made up for the rules I'm now calling "Space Guns", which is TRWNN more or less re-written by yours truly. PDF almost ready to share too, plus a fancy shooting chart and damage tracking data cards (!)

Zombie Survival
Zombies all activate on a zombie activation chit. They can only shuffle around (relocate 2"). In combat they count as using fists. They count as fighters. They don't take Nerve tests.

The Zombie hound has it's own activation chit, counts a fighter with a knife in CQC, and moves 2d6.

If a human is wounded by a zombie, it must roll above it's total wounds every time it activates to see if it succumbs to Zombie plague and "turns", becoming a zombie. Killed humans become zombies but still activate on their original chit.

Setup: Set an entry and exit point. The player wins if he can get 50% of the team off the board.

Place 6 spawn points on the board. When an enemy has it's first activation, roll a d6 to see which point it emerges from, out of LOS of the player's forces.

Okay ramblers, lets get rambling..


Spoiler alert. I had to cut the game short. Normally I wouldn't even bother posting it, but this is part of solo gaming so here you go.

The very first thing I realized was that having all zombies activate on the same counter was good, except I shouldn't have put a counter in for each one of them. This meant that they basically moved too fast and swarmed my men before I got more than 2 out of the entry point! This wasn't right at all.

The other rules are fine, but I think I will put split the z's into mobs of 3 and activate each mob with it's own counter. Sadly I have to stop for tonight, so goodnight and thanks for reading about my week of solo gaming... My girlfriend is home tomorrow so I'm back to my regular schedule...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Solopalooza Night 4: Death Angel!

I figured it out!

Well, after a morning walk and delicious fry-up, I read back over the Death Angel rules and started playing. Like all card/board games I try to play solo, it's difficult to get going at first as there's nobody else around to help remember everything.. But still, once I'd played a few turns the game is actually very easy to understand and run. 

I played a lot of the original Space Hulk board game and loved it. The key thing about Space Hulk was/is the tension. As the marine player you knew you were only ever a hair's breadth from your bolter jamming and meeting your death under an avalanche of Genestealer claws. I have been meaning to get back into this realm with VPG's Forlorn Hope, but haven't got around to it. Mainly because I tried to recreate the whole thing in miniature and to be honest, it was too big a job.

But I digress. Death Angel does an admirable job of re-creating the atmosphere of tension that the board game did , with just a few columns of cards.

Each turn you choose which actions your terminators will perform, Attack, Move or support. Each option has additional strategic benefits depending on what combat teams you have chosen. The Assault cannon gets to shoot 3 times with an attack instead of 1 for example.

Then the Genestealers get a swipe at your troops. Like in the board game, they are fairly ineffective singly, but once a few build up, you are in serious danger of losing some men.

Then you resolve an event cards and the dirty Genestealers scuttle about.. That's it, start a new turn.

The game is set up into several locations, each one requiring you to exhaust or destroy one of the blip decks set up when you enter it. In all the games I played there were 3 locations. I lost all 3 of the games I played.

Game 1: Messed up what happens when a marine dies and had to start over.
Game 2: Got positively slaughtered in the second and third turns by some really nasty Genestealer attacks. I limped on but was quickly overwhelmed.
Game 3: I made it to the Toxicarium (Toxic-something or other anyway) and was 1 roll of the dice from victory, but with only 1 marine left, I got overwhelmed at the last second. Epic stuff!

Brilliant little game, if you like the Space hulk theme and enjoy a good card game this will not disappoint. I think it would be pretty good fun with more people as well.

I'm going to spend the rest of the evening painting minis, as I haven't done any of that yet and I have a lot to get going on. Some really big news regarding the AAG Tomorrow's War Strike force competition, but that will have to wait for the moment.

I am so excited about TRWNN/Street Violence that I'm going to work on V2.0 cards and chits then play some more games tomorrow on my modular terrain that I've just realized I've never actually used.

Solopalooza Interlude

Well, I did a lot of riding my motorcycle today and not a lot of Solo gaming. I spent some time working on cards for Street Violence/TRWNN, but all that did was make me think about the best way to track damage... My goal being zero use of pencil and paper during a game.

On the painting front, I finally got my Ramshackle Games "buildings" undercoated, and began building a 12"x12" game board/box out of a £10 chess/backgammon set I saw at the local DIY shop. A bit unscheduled, but thats how I roll. It came out quite nice, but the surface needs more paint and I think I need to get hold of some MDF instead of using foamcore for the gaming surface. It warps too much when I try to paint the textured wallpaper I am using stuck to the top. Intrigued? More on this tomorrow.

Here are the PDFs of the chits I made for last night's game, in case you want to have a quick go. If you have some minis and some D6 I really recommend it!

Click HERE to download PDF from Google Docs
Click HERE to download PDF from Google Docs

Tonight I broke out Lego Heroica, Draida bay.

(Sneak peek of undercoated game box I converted today)

 It was fun assembling the  pieces, but the game is too simplistic to enjoy alone. I tried normal mode solo (boring) and battle mode after that (still boring) and came to the conclusion that I will possibly need to write my own rules altogether.  I want to stick to the actual game components though, so this might not take long. I have all the other sets, so I think there is a lot of scope for a fun game here.

So for tonight's second game, I set out to play Space Hulk: Death Angel... The small boxed Space Hulk card game. 

The rulebook is fairly difficult to understand on first read, as it doesn't seem to explain concepts in any kind of order. Or maybe it's just too late at night. I am giving up in the name of sleep tonight, I will return to the game (all set up now) tomorrow morning and hopefully get a game in before I try to paint some bad guys for Crom.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Solopalooza Night 3: TRWNN in Space!

I have pieced together an old version of "The Rules With No Name" from a 1996 free version on the web. The game is now a full color Foundry hardback set of rules for shootouts in the old west.

Low figure count,  random draw activation.. Sounded perfect for the basis of a "Throwdown" game. Our old Necromunda games were very old-west flavored back in the day, and western style gunfights are more my speed than army actions so I had high hopes.

I also made my own damage chits for the game. TRWNN's downloads page has a nice western flavored set, but for sci fi I wanted something a little more thematic. Plus mine have blood explosions.

Custom Fate Chits
I chose 4 characters, co-responding fate chits for them and ranked them:

Blak's Crew, figures are GZG and Khurasan
"Ace" Black, Legend with Pistol.
"Bruiser" Grakk, Veteran with 2 pistols.
"Lady" Alice, Fighter with 2 Pistols
"Sniper" Mc Gillicutty with a rifle.

Wasteland Raiders, figures are all post-apoc raiders from Khurasan
"Boss" Sixkiller, Legend with Pistol
"Pistol" Eevan, Veteran with 2 pistols
"Blaster" Skedge, Fighter with Shotgun
"Rifle" Sal, Fighter with rifle.

I set up a run down colony mining outpost, with mostly the same terrain as last night's game and quickly came up with a scenario.

Blak and his crew had got wind of an outpost that had been abandoned due to dangerous wildlife. The inhabitants had reportedly left some large deposits of Solonium throughout the place. Blak's team dusted down nearby and walked into town trying to keep a low profile. 

I chose an approach edge and then placed 6 entry points out of my model's LOS. When an enemy fate chit was drawn, it would appear at a random one of these spots. These spots could also be used to exit from if out of LOS of my models, representing the raiders superior local knowledge.

The board before the first fate chit was turned
Additionally, I scribbled down some simple AI rules. After activating, an enemy model rolls a d6. on a 1-3 it would put all it's efforts into getting to the objective (in this case, the Blue Solonium deposits) on a 4-6 it would instead attack the nearest enemy model.

One piece of Solonium was on the roof of the bar, and the other two were locked in shacks. It would take 1 full turn to break into a shack and another to enter, grab the Solonium and then be placed back outside the door that was entered through. 

Once in possession of  Solonium, the same rule applied (1-3 pursue objective, 4-6 kill nearest) except instead of moving to get it, the enemy would move to escape via an available exit point.

Blak's crew walk into town...
I turned the first chit...

Ace Blak activated first and moved up to the bar.  Then Boss Sixkiller activated (then rolled a 1 for deployment) appearing in the ruins right next to my crew, and took a Move+Fire action. 
The Legendary bandit blazed away and hit McGillicutty twice with a big-bore pistol at close range.. I drew two kill shots to the chest. McGillicutty hit the dirt gushing blood, stone dead. Before anyone could react, the turn ended! Reshuffle the Fate chits and start again.

Lady Alice, splattered with McGillicutty's blood,  spun in place and blazed at Sixkiller, but missed and emptied her clip. Bruiser Grakk went next and ran for cover.

The black chits are extra action cards that have been claimed and used up
The coolest thing about the fate chits is that as a solo player you can lay them out in a row as they are drawn, so you always know what's going on.

Both sides scrambled through the shanty town trying to get a good angle to attack or grab some loot. Bruiser emptied his guns at Sixkiller to no avail. Blaster Skedge let rip at Alice with his Shotgun. 

Shotgun spread represented by 2 blast markers
His shot went a little wide though, and while he managed to catch Alice with both barrels, he also caught Eevan in the blast.

Aggh.. You idiot!
Alice got off lightly..

Eevan was not so lucky. Friendly fire is a bitch.
The raiders got some good fate chits and were greedily breaking into shacks and running off with Solonium while Alice lost her nerve and slipped away from the battle.
Bruiser managed to dash around and blow Skedge away

Bruiser takes out the shotgunner

Oof! Ace rolls triple 1's and falls over. What a guy.
"So long, suckers!" Yelled Sixkiller as he escaped down an allley, arms full of Solonium.

Ace and Bruiser dusted themselves off sheepishly and took stock of the situation. "Well, at least one of us didn't fall over, Ace." Said Grakk. 

With all the raiders off the board, it was time for the butcher's bill.

Blak's crew loses,7 pts to 8.
With a Solonium shard worth 3 VPs and a kill worth 2, Blak's crew came up short.

What a riot! These rules are exactly what I look for in a solo game.. Suspenseful and fun, yet you can keep the main rule mechanics in your head because they are so simple, meaning very little referring to the rules during play. Using skills for the models would increase the complexity somewhat, but using data cards for the models would fix that too.

TRWNN are a blast in my book, and I'm looking forward to tinkering with it some more. My simple "50-50" AI rolls worked a treat. Easy enough to remember without any trouble, and providing uncertain yet sensible enemy behavior.

Next game I'm going to use playing cards for the fate deck and simply mark a card ID on each character card.. eg: Grakk=Jack, Alice =Queen. Diamonds for enemy and Spades for me (Hearts will be used for the extra action cards that make the game so much fun). I loved my damage chits, much more fun than reading text.

All in all, a very successful game. But t's 2:20 am.. I'm off to bed!